True. But we split the next two holes, and so it was that we came to the par-5 18th hole all tied. And, as I said, I stepped up and absolutely hit a two-cheeker of a drive that went 290 yards and caused one man in our group to say, "No wonder they won the war."
We heard that.
Meanwhile, my Japanese opponent had hit his ball out of bounds. He was lying three. 50 yards behind where I was lying one. A win on the back nine was most certainly mine. I could gain a split on the man's home course, which, naturally, I would take back to America as a glorious victory.
You were gladdened.
Yes. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the Japanese proverb: "Darkness lies one inch ahead." In my excitement to save American face, I tried to reach the green in two and make an eagle.
Instead, I topped my three-wood sideways into a trap, hit a tree coming out, bombed my approach 30 yards over the green, hit a bad chip and two-putted for a 7. During all this, he had recovered nicely and made a 15-foot putt for a 6 and a one-hole victory.
You choked worse than Heimlich.
This is true. But afterward, I got to thinking about the world as a global village. I remembered how George Bush wants to share our defense secrets with Japan. And I recalled seeing news of a joint microchip venture between Hitachi and Texas Instruments. And I thought about what a good time I'd had among the friendly and generous people of Japan. Suddenly, I felt proud just to have participated.
In other words, he bought the beers.